Mother's Day approaches. This is a hard one for me. My mother has been gone for almost 20 years- so I commemorate her in a mostly private fashion. I discovered things about her later in my life that upset me profoundly- actions she didn't take to protect me and so there is no shortage of pain there. My husband's mother is alive and living independently in Texas and for better or for worse, the only things we have in common is that we are both females, and both love her son. Any other common ground isn't there. She is a devout Christian who reads her Bible daily and is involved with her church. I was raised in a household where participating in organized religion was actively discouraged. As a result of my upbringing, religion is not something I seek for myself or my family.
It's difficult to feel close to someone who has been a phantom figure for as long as I have known her and I imagine she feels the same way about me. Most of the time I can roll with how awkward this feels- and I chalk it up to the many things in life over which I have little control. (You cannot pick your spouse's parents- although I highly recommend it should the opportunity arise.) But when these "holidays" roll around, and the media bursts with reminders and advertising, it's hard to avoid the difficulty of certain realities. I'm sure my mother-in-law isn't thrilled either, to have a daughter-in-law who finds comfort in distance. Not everything can be wrapped up neatly in pretty paper and tied with a bow. I guess this is one of those things.